Propriety of Insurance Staff Counsel Representing the Insurance Company and Its Insureds; Permissible Names for an Association of Insurance Staff Counsel
This opinion addresses two ethical issues arising under the Model Rules of Professional Conduct. First, may insurance staff counsel represent both their employer and their employer's insureds in a civil lawsuit resulting from an event defined in the insurance policy? Second, under what name may an association of insurance staff counsel practice?
For the reasons set forth below, the Committee reaffirms its prior opinions and concludes that insurance staff counsel ethically may undertake such representations so long as the lawyers (1) inform all insureds whom they represent that the lawyers are employees of the insurance company, and (2) exercise independent professional judgment in advising or otherwise representing the insureds.
The Committee also concludes that insurance staff counsel may practice under a trade name or under the names of one or more of the practicing lawyers, provided the lawyers function as a law firm and disclose their affiliation with the insurance company to all insureds whom they represent.
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